The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 25, 2013

Limestone schools plant trees obtained through recovery grant

For The News Courier

— Students at the Limestone County Career Technical Center and Blue Springs Elementary School have completed the planting of trees obtained through the “Canopy by Design” grant, which was written and administered through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The grant was written to supply trees to replace some of the thousands of trees lost during the 2011 tornadoes in Alabama.

In Limestone County, trees were planted in public areas at the Limestone County Correctional Institution, Limestone County Tornado Memorial, Career Technical Center on Sanderfer Road and Blue Springs Elementary School.  

While the campus at Blue Springs Elementary School was not a direct hit by the 2011 tornadoes, the school qualified for the grant due to the loss of trees in the vicinity.

The trees came available to the schools through interactions between the Limestone County Extension Coordinator Betty Ann Broman and Superintendent Dr. Thomas Sisk. The trees were offered to principals, and Mickey Glass at the Career Center and Randy Hamilton at Blue Springs Elementary requested trees for their campuses.  

At each school, volunteers — teachers and students — were trained on planting and maintenance techniques. The trees were delivered in late January and have all been planted within the last couple of weeks.

Both principals thought it important that students be involved in the tree planting process. At the Career Center, a group of selected students were not only trained, but actually planted the maple, dogwood and cypress trees themselves. Glass and Russ Cleveland, a teacher at the Career Center, supervised them.

At Blue Springs Elementary, 39 trees, including dogwood, cherry, maple, gingko, oak and elm were planted around the new playground area, walking trail and throughout the campus. 

Blue Springs Elementary students were also involved in the project. Each classroom had at least one tree identified as their tree and helped fill in the holes after planting. 

Teachers were provided with materials on tree planting, growth and care through the Limestone County Office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. They also reviewed a unit on the tree planting with their students as part of the project.  

By adding the trees to the campuses, the students will have an opportunity to see the trees grow, develop and enhance the beauty of the school campus.